Routers are Vulnerable


Staff & Wire Reports

Opinion: Vast Majority of Wi-Fi Routers in the U.S. are Vulnerable to Cybercrime

By Krisztina Pusok

Eighty-three percent.

That’s the proportion of Wi-Fi routers sold in the United States that are vulnerable to cyberattack, according to a new study by the American Consumer Institute.

“Without addressing these known security flaws, consumer devices could be compromised, and data could be stolen, leading to malicious activity, identity theft, fraud or espionage,” according to the study.

In May 2018, the FBI sent out a warning that Russian computer hackers had compromised hundreds of thousands of home and office routers and could collect user information or interfere with network traffic. This attack, as damaging as it was, merely hinted at the magnitude of the security vulnerabilities in Americans’ Wi-Fi routers.

The analysis by American Consumer Institute included 186 devices from 14 manufacturers, of which 155 (83 percent) were found to have vulnerabilities to potential cyberattacks in the router’s software, with an average of 172 vulnerabilities per router. The total number of known vulnerabilities found in the sample is staggering: 32,003.

Not all vulnerabilities are equal, however. The severity of each vulnerability is ranked by the National Vulnerability Database and, based on different scores, each vulnerability is ranked either “low,” “medium,” “high,” or “critical” to reflect the severity of the associated risks.

Within the sample, 28 percent of the vulnerabilities were considered high risk or critical.

High-risk vulnerabilities require very little knowledge or skill to exploit, but unlike critical-risk vulnerabilities, they will not entirely compromise the system. The potential damage remains high, as exploited high-risk vulnerabilities can partly damage the system and cause information disclosure. ACI’s analysis shows that, on average, each router contained 12 critical vulnerabilities and 36 high-risk vulnerabilities. The most common vulnerabilities were medium risk, with an average of 103 vulnerabilities per router.

Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions to this problem.

Fixing these vulnerabilities lies partly in the hands of consumers who must learn about their devices and proactively seek software updates to patch known vulnerabilities. This will require a change in mentality — the average consumer has probably never even considered updating their router’s software.

And because most consumers are not even aware of potential security vulnerabilities, they tend not to demand software support from manufacturers. As a result, router makers often do not provide user-friendly ways to update software and may even view building security protocols into their devices as an unnecessary expense. This means that even consumers who are able to figure out how to update the router may face outdated software that is all but useless against vulnerabilities discovered since its sale.

Router manufacturers have a responsibility to track potential security vulnerabilities on their routers and to ensure that consumers are given the tools to keep their devices secure.

Even as inter-connected devices are creating new, exciting opportunities for innovations in our daily lives, the threat of cyberattack has never been more real. One of the leading cybersecurity firms in the U.S. reported a 600 percent increase in Internet of Things attacks in 2017. Routers were the most frequently exploited type of device, making up 33.6 percent of IoT attacks.

Each of the 32,003 vulnerabilities identified in ACI’s report puts consumers and our economy at risk. If this growing threat is to be countered effectively, manufacturers must commit more resources to identifying and mitigating security vulnerabilities on their devices and consumers must remain vigilant for potential threats that could compromise their personal data.

Earlier this month, ACI released a study showing that many popular smartphone apps contain known vulnerabilities that are not being patched by applications providers, also leaving consumer information and devices at risk. These two studies show the urgency for the industry to take proactive steps to protect consumer privacy, and these risks should not be taken for granted.


Krisztina Pusok is the director of policy and research at the American Consumer Institute, a nonprofit educational and research organization. She wrote this for

Scott McComb is ICBA’s Eastern Region Community Banker of the Year

McComb is chairman, president and CEO of Heartland Bank in Whitehall, Ohio

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 2, 2018)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) announced that Scott McComb, chairman, president and CEO of Heartland Bank in Whitehall, Ohio, is the Eastern region winner of its 2018 Community Banker of the Year award. This annual award recognizes the exceptional work and commitment of individual community bankers and their dedication to local communities.

“We are proud to honor Scott McComb, an exceptional leader and visionary, as the Eastern region winner of ICBA’s Community Banker of the Year award,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “Scott’s dedication and commitment to his community is exemplified by his adherence to value-based business practices and conscientious civic service. He has earned the respect and admiration of his colleagues and serves as a shining example of community banking at its finest.”

McComb is a proponent of community activism and has instilled this culture of civic service throughout Heartland Bank, which is a 2018 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Support of the Arts. Bank employees are also encouraged to give back through an annual silent auction and golf fundraiser to benefit local charities. McComb volunteers his time and talents to notable causes like the USO of Central Ohio in support of our troops and the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

“Scott has a team that radiates his passion, and that is why Heartland Bank is so successful,” said his daughter and bank employee, Kailyn. “He has continued to grow the culture that his father, and my grandfather, created, which is a bank that cares. You are not just a number at Heartland Bank.”

In addition to his local civic activities, McComb is a strong voice for the community banking industry.

The community bank advocate met with elected officials in his home state and in Washington, D.C., in support of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155), which will help bolster economic growth and job creation in Main Street communities nationwide. He also is chairman of the ICBA Bancard board of directors, is an ICBA at-large director, and is vice chairman of ICBA’s Bank Operations and Payments Committee. He previously served on the board for the Community Bankers Association of Ohio.

In addition to McComb, ICBA named a National Community Banker of the Year and winners for the Central and West regions of the United States. Winners will be featured in the December issue of Independent Banker®, ICBA’s award-winning monthly publication and the number-one source of community banking news for ICBA members. They will also be recognized at the 2019 ICBA Community Banking LIVE® national convention in Nashville, Tenn.

This is the fifth annual contest ICBA has held for the National Community Banker of the Year award. SHAZAM is the sponsor. Every year, ICBA seeks nominations from community bankers, customers and community leaders to identify the most passionate, innovative and savvy community bankers for this prestigious award.

For additional information about community banks, visit

About ICBA

The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for nearly 5,700 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at

Convoy of Hope Responds to Indonesia Tsunami

Team to arrive in the affected area this week

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — October 2, 2018 — A devastating tsunami, triggered by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday. The death toll has risen to at least 1,347 people. There are fears this number could rise significantly as search and rescue efforts continue throughout the area.

According to the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management, an estimated 2.4 million people have been affected by the disaster and at least 61,000 people have been displaced.

Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services Team deployed Tuesday morning from Springfield, Missouri, and made their way to Palu, Indonesia. Jeff Nene, Convoy of Hope’s national spokesperson, says, “The team is headed for Palu, where they will meet up with a network of churches and partners in the area. Our goal is to purchase food, water and other supplies to help those affected by the tsunami. We will bring water filtration systems and solar lanterns to distribute to families and communities in need.”

Once they arrive, Convoy of Hope will meet with partners and assess the situation to further develop their response strategy. To follow Convoy’s response, visit

About Convoy of Hope

Convoy of Hope is a faith-­based organization with a driving passion to feed the world. With a long history as an early responder in times of natural disasters, Convoy of Hope has been a Four Star Charity as recognized by Charity Navigator for 15 consecutive years. Convoy of Hope has served more than 100 million people since it was founded in 1994. For more information please visit

Opinion: Melania Trump’s Trip to Africa

By Natalie Gonnella-Platts

Melania Trump is keen to make a difference in the lives of children around the world and noted as much during a speech at the 73rd U.N. General Assembly. In her remarks, she made direct mention of the good work being led by fellow first ladies H.E. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, H.E. Margaret Kenyatta and H.E. Gertrude Mutharika.

First ladies, community activists and changemakers of all ages are moving the needle on important issues at local, national and regional levels. This work cannot be overlooked as Mrs. Trump travels to Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Egypt.

Mrs. Trump cited a desire to replicate U.S. programs “that are doing great things for children.” But to make a lasting difference, she should also consider the success that is already happening in Africa. Though the world often narrows in on the obstacles, opportunity and optimism are in abundant supply.

For example, Vivian Onano of Kenya, who fought for her right to an education, works to improve outcomes for women and young people across the continent. A youth representative for UNESCO’s Global Youth Monitoring Report among numerous other affiliations, Vivian is dedicated to creating a more inclusive future.

Ghana’s Fred Swaniker was concerned by the lack of leadership training and quality education available to young Africans. While at graduate school, he envisioned “a world-class academic institution where the most outstanding young students can develop into leaders who are passionate about the continent and eager to make an impact.” Joining forces with other like-minded individuals, the African Leadership Academy was born. This year marks ALA’s 10th anniversary.

Amid widespread sexual harassment in Egypt, Reem Fawzi launched Pink Taxi to ensure girls and women had access to safe and reliable transportation, while at the same time providing jobs for women in a male dominated industry.

These are three stories, and there are countless others that underscore the leadership, innovation and hope occurring across the continent.

As H.E. Monica Geingos, first lady of Namibia stressed in a 2017 interview:

“The Africa that you used to read about, and the stereotypes we’ve become associated with, is different from the Africa that we know. The Africa that we know is still not perfect. The Africa we know still makes itself guilty of certain stereotypes. But the Africa that we know is also developing at a much faster rate than it ever has. There is stronger leadership. And the Africa that we currently know has a youth population that is keeping leadership accountable.”

Moreover, though there are some parallels in the challenges facing children and young people in the United States, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Egypt, there are also notable differences. And this is an important distinction.

Africa is home to the largest youth population in the world. By 2030 , the under-18 population across the continent is expected to grow to 750 million. And by 2050, 40 percent of the world’s population under the age of 18 will live in Africa.

One of the greatest resources first ladies have at their disposal is the ability to build bridges between diverse stakeholders. This includes their engagement with peers and predecessors. As we see across the work of the George W. Bush Institute’s First Ladies Initiative, sharing best practices and experiences is an important lifeline for first ladies. Communication and outreach with contemporaries provide an unparalleled chance to learn from those who are in similar positions of influence.

First lady Gertrude Mutharika of Malawi has focused on health and hygiene and the empowerment of adolescent girls. Ghana’s first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo is improving child health and access to education. In Kenya, first lady Margaret Kenyatta launched Beyond Zero to address maternal and infant mortality and inadequate access to health services. And this year, the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) and the African Union launched the Free to Shine campaign, a continent-wide effort that aims to “reinforce the political commitment of African nations to end childhood AIDS and keep mothers healthy.”

This perspective is important. Context and collaboration matter. To be successful in “combating … the issues that children face today,” consideration of local needs and leadership are vital to Mrs. Trump’s goal of sharing Be Best abroad. From Africa to North America, the most influential first spouses are those who keep this fact front of mind.


Natalie Gonnella-Platts is the deputy director of the Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative, the co-author of “A Role Without a Rulebook: The Influence and Leadership of Global First Ladies,” and host of the podcast Ladies, First. She wrote this for

Start a classic brunch with a stack of airy, tangy pancakes


A stack of fluffy, golden pancakes is the perfect starting place for a standout brunch, delivering piping hot cakes with distinct sweet tang and an open, airy texture.

Buttermilk was a must_it contributed to the pancakes’ flavor and, with some leavening help from small amounts of baking powder and baking soda, it also created pancakes with better texture_but we craved even more tang, so we whisked in some sour cream for a concentrated boost.

To keep our pancakes as light and fluffy as possible, we avoided overmixing the batter, which would overdevelop the gluten and make the pancakes tough. After a brief rest to relax the gluten, we portioned the batter into a hot, lightly oiled skillet. From there, our cakes needed just a few minutes per side to turn beautifully golden brown.

To ensure all our guests would enjoy fresh, hot pancakes, we kept the cakes warm while we finished the remaining batches by transferring the finished pancakes to a warm oven until it was time to serve. Getting the skillet hot enough before making the pancakes is key. An electric griddle set to 350 F can also be used to cook the pancakes.


Servings: 16 (4-inch pancakes)

Start to finish: 30 minutes

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 F. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet and place in oven.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl. In separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, sour cream, eggs, and melted butter together. Make well in center of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients; gently stir until just combined (batter should be lumpy with few streaks of flour). Do not overmix. Let batter sit 10 minutes before cooking.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Using paper towels, carefully wipe out oil, leaving thin film on bottom and sides of pan.

Using 1/4 cup measure, portion batter into pan in 4 places. Cook until edges are set, first side is golden brown, and bubbles on surface are just beginning to break, 2 to 3 minutes. Using thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack in oven and repeat with remaining batter, using remaining oil as necessary. Serve.


— Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes: Sprinkle 1 tablespoon fresh blueberries over each pancake before flipping. (If using frozen berries, thaw and rinse berries and spread them out on paper towels to dry.)

— Graham Buttermilk Pancakes: Substitute 1 cup graham cracker crumbs plus 2 tablespoons cornmeal for 1 cup flour.

Nutrition information per serving: 117 calories; 41 calories from fat; 5 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 37 mg cholesterol; 185 mg sodium; 15 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 3 g protein.

For more recipes, cooking tips and ingredient and product reviews, visit Find more recipes like Classic Buttermilk Pancakes in “All-Time Best Brunch.”

America’s Test Kitchen provided this article to The Associated Press

Columbus 2020 Honored at IEDC Conference

Organization receives an IEDC Gold Award for Excellence

Columbus, Ohio – Columbus 2020, the economic development organization for the 11-county Columbus Region, received high praise at the International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC) 2018 Annual Conference, held in Atlanta, GA. The conference recognizes economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials and the year’s most influential leaders.

Columbus 2020 received a Gold IEDC Internet and New Media award for its website. The award was presented at the IEDC award ceremony on Tuesday, October 2.

The IEDC Internet and New Media Award category recognizes the marketing work of organizations at the forefront of the economic development profession. Awards in this category are judged on the goal/mission, quantifiable results related to the goal, data type and quality, effectivenest of the mission, interactivity, timeliness and relevance of information, quality of content, organization, visual appeal and navigability, accessibility and overall value for economic development efforts.

The Columbus Region website features a fresh design, streamlined navigation, and robust data and lead generation functionalities. From the homepage, it is easy to access information about Columbus 2020, regional businesses and industries, market research, moving to the Columbus Region along with general news and events. In addition to serving as an up-to-date resource for in-depth regional information, the website maintains the Columbus Region’s strong brand, enhances modern functionalities and user experience, and increases staff productivity. The 2018 website is the trusted resource for those looking to expand their companies in the Columbus Region. The website can be viewed here.

“This year our judges reviewed some extraordinary projects that advanced both communities and businesses,” said Craig Richard, CEcD, FM, president and CEO, Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and 2018 IEDC board chair. “We congratulate all the award winners, and thank everyone who nominated their projects for sharing their success with fellow IEDC members. What we learn from each other helps us to grow and advance as a profession. We look forward to even greater participation from economic developers across the globe in the 2019 awards program.”

About Columbus 2020

As the economic development organization for the Columbus Region, Columbus 2020’s mission is to generate opportunity and build capacity for economic growth across 11 Central Ohio counties. In 2010, hundreds of business and community leaders developed the Columbus 2020 Regional Growth Strategy, and the Columbus Region is now experiencing the strongest decade of growth in its history. The Columbus 2020 team conducts business outreach, promotes the Columbus Region to market-leading companies around the world, conducts customized research to better understand the Columbus Region’s competitiveness, and works to leverage public, private and institutional partnerships. Funding is received from more than 300 private organizations, local governments, academic institutions and JobsOhio. Learn more at

About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is the world’s largest membership organization for economic development professionals. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life in their communities by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, our members represent the entire range of economic development. Learn more at

Staff & Wire Reports